Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Debilitating but not Unmanageable

If you are afflicted by Irritable Bowel Syndrome you already know that while its not classified as a disease, it can be very debilitating.

There is no magic pill or set cure that can relieve your symptoms, but you will be happy to know that with some changes in your lifestyle such as diet, exercise and supplementation, you can relieve many of the symptoms of IBS and actually live a more comfortable and enjoyable life.

So what is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also called spastic colon, is a functional bowel disorder that can be characterized by mild to severe abdominal pain or discomfort. It can cause bloating and an alteration of your bowel habits.

People with IBS are believed to have nerves and muscles in the bowel that appear to be extra sensitive. They many contract too much when the person eats or the nerves may react when the bowel stretches, both of these can cause cramping and pain. The symptoms of course are abdominal pain relieved by or associated with bowel movement, chronic diarrhea, constipation or both.

Women with IBS often have more symptoms during their menstrual periods.

IBS is a syndrome, meaning it is a group of symptoms. It is not classified as a disease but a functional disorder meaning the bowel doesn't function correctly.

OK, so now that I have IBS what can I do about it?

Often times, Irritable Bowel Syndrome begins after a stressful life event or possibly after an infection. It can also be tied to problems with your immune system.

IBS really has no cure; however, there are lifestyle changes you can make that can relieve your symptoms.

The following information is not intended to replace medical care. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure.

Because Irritable Bowel Syndrome is related to the colon and the digestive system, what you eat and how you eat are big factors in controlling IBS.

Things that can help improve or relieve the symptoms include Diet changes, medicines, stress relief, nutritional supports are methods of relieving the problem.

Fiber is very important for helping with IBS. Be careful to add a little at a time to your daily diet plan. Too much can trigger gas, which triggers symptoms in an IBS person. A good fiber powder is recommended. Remember, all fiber is not equal.

Adding fiber foods is also good, whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables, but again, small amounts at a time until the body can get used to more fiber.

Eat small meals, several times a day rather than large meals.

Laxatives may be prescribed but most laxatives strip rather than making the bowels work and laxatives make them weak. I do recommend the Herbal Laxative developed by a prominent Doctor years ago. Two of the herbs in the product make the intestine and bowel work and become strong.

People have reported stress will make IBS symptoms worse. "Stress" creates damage in all parts of the body and should be "tamed" if possible.

Carbonated drinks, fatty foods, chocolate, milk, alcohol and caffeine can also trigger symptoms.

Drink lots of water. Be sure to get at least 6-8 cups of water each day. It will help keep the stool soft (especially important with increased fiber intake) and it will keep you hydrated if you are experiencing diarrhea.

Exercise is always good for the body and keeping it functioning properly. It doesn't have to be extreme. A nice walk that gets your body feeling warm is perfect. If you are "new" to prescribed exercise, the 5 out plan works well. Just walk 5 minutes away from home and then you HAVE to walk 5 minutes back. As you feel up to it increase the time walking away from home. It's easy, reduces stress and you might even meet some of your neighbors.

Nutritional Support

There are three stages for adding supplements recommended for people that have Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

Stage 1: Start the healing process – The following supplements are a good way to get started towards relieving IBS symptoms

  • To reduce inflammation, a garlic supplement that has not been killed by over heating
  • Unflavored Fiber Plan - 1/2 tsp to start. Work up to 1 tsp and then 1 Tablespoon 2 times a day. You need to start slowly and listen to your body. Fiber can make things worse if too much is taken too quickly. Let your body get used to the new fiber slowly.
  • Herbal laxative: promotes cleansing of bowel irritants; stool softening. A non-GMO (not engineered) soy protein which contains the Genistine which aids in mucosal tissue repair, taken 2 x a day in water, soy or rice milk. (remember dairy can make things worse)
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (uncontaminated) are important for anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties and better insulin receptors (much better than flax oil.)
  • A good GLA (Gamma-Linolenic Acid) can also be used.
  • It can also help if you add a stomach soothing product which provides peppermint, ginger, and other herbs used traditionally for stomach soothing effects as well as fennel and anise.
  • Lecithin: lubricates and heals bowel lining

Stage 2: Rebuild health and better bowel function – Now that the healing has started, we want to get the colon back to optimal health

  • Alfalfa, 1-2 a day, build up to 10 a day. Alfalfa has minerals you will not get any place else. It is an excellent bowel cleanser and alfalfa promotes healing.
  • Prebiotic / probiotic - These can repopulate the bowel with "friendly" bacteria. You want to rebuild health of the intestinal tract and protect lining of the intestine. If the bowel is inflamed may need to take one capsule for the first 5 days and start the powder at just 1/2 tsp per day.
  • Beta Carotene and other carotenoids help heal the lining (CarotoMax)
  • Vitamin E - blocks aracononic acid which promotes the inflammatory response.
  • Vitamin B-Complex - provides support and is also known as the happy vitamin as it contributes to stress relief product.
  • Vitamin C - promotes intestinal healing

Stage 3: Maintenance – Keeping your colon healthy and working right goes a long way towards relieving Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Everyone is different and the amount of supplements and how long you take them will vary. Some of the stage 1 and 2 supplements should be included in your maintenance program.

  • Multi-Vitamin and minerals – be careful at this stage. If the bowels are really inflamed, the minerals in a multivitamin may further irritate them. Be sure to start the healing process with the first 2 stages before beginning with a good Multi.
  • E-Z gest - Digestive enzymes can aide in and are important for proper digestion.

The 3 stages don't have a set time table. The best information you will ever get is the information your body is giving you. Start slow, give the supplements time to help and listen to your body on what is working for you.

Remember everyone is different. I just know that the supplements and lifestyle changes mentioned above have helped others, but I am not a doctor and I cannot prescribe or diagnose so it is in my best opinion that I am giving these recommendations. If you want more detailed testimonials or product descriptions please contact me. You can also click the product names. Many of them are linked to other more detailed pages.

I would love to hear your success stories. Many of us have little problems in life and the support of others gives a good deal of relief and helps us all keep up the faith.

Remember a little education goes a long way! Think about it!

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